Tuesday, 15 May 2012

vintage living - the 70s

By the late 1950s and early 1960s a new generation of designers felt increasingly detached from the 1920s and 1930s Modernist aesthetic that had become synonymous with the style of the successful multinational corporations of the day. In 1977 the American architect Charles Jencks published the book "The Language Of Post-Modern Architecture" in which he declared the death of Modernism, giving precise date and time and place of it coinciding with the destruction of a building complex of the 50s. 
In his eyes the Modernism has failed. But let's have a look at the developments.
armchair "Capitello" by Studio 65, 1972
At the beginning of the 70s the Historicism occurred again which was already sleeping under the surface in the 60s which the changing attitude in art and architecture. At the beginning a new interpretation of Art Nouveau and Art D├ęco took place and similar than in fashion a collecting spirit of art and design from the beginning of the century started. 
Under these influences the Postmodernity presented itself as a Modernism overlapped with historical and cultural references. Though the recourses could be quite bold and shrill like the example of the armchair "Capitello" shows. The design of Studio 65 is based on an Ionian capital transferred into furniture.
Thinking of reasons for this Historicism, the economic situation plays an important role as the whole world was suffering from recession and a lack of working places combined with high energy prices. The rescue into approved ideals seems to be a logic step.

"Safari" sofa by Archizoom
Shortly before the Postmodernity's breakthrough a short Italian intermezzo of Anti-Design  and Radical Design occurred, based on the idea that good design in times like these is simply impossible.
"Mies" chair and ottoman by Archizoom 1969
The Italian postmodern movements drew on the iconography of Hollywood  and Pop, marrying color, ornament, wit, kitsch and distortion of scale, all key ingredients in Postmodernism. It emerged already in the late 1960s and reacted against the doctrines of the Modern Movement. The Anti Design movement united various avant-garde groups whose product take a politically-motivated attitude against a more and more consumption-oriented society.

Quaderna table by Superstudio
The most important representatives of the groups are Archizoom (1966-74) with its founders Andrea Branzi, Paolo Deganello and the architecture group Superstudio with their famous product, the table, "Quaderna" (1970). It follows a minimalist, orthogonal design principle and is fitted with a plastic laminate with printed square pattern. 
furniture series "Up" by Gaetano Pesce, 1969 
Another important member of the Radical Design is Gaetano Pesce with his conceptual and anti-functional furniture series "Up".
armchair "Nobody's King" by Gaetano Pesce, 1970
_architecture classics
Another counterpart against the anti-design movement was the high-tech style with its functional and industrial looking design. Having a look at the architecture scene one finds similarities for example in the work of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers who completed the Centre Georges Pompidou in 1977.

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
The project was awarded with Rogers' winning the Pritzker Prize in 2007, The New York Times noted that the design of the Centre "turned the architecture world upside down" and that "Mr. Rogers earned a reputation as a high-tech iconoclast with the completion of the 1977 Pompidou Centre, with its exposed skeleton of brightly colored tubes for mechanical systems. The Pritzker jury said the Pompidou "revolutionized museums, transforming what had once been elite monuments into popular places of social and cultural exchange, woven into the heart of the city."

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